Nine months in jail for sat-nav driver who killed cyclist
Sentence well below CPS recommendation for 'low-level' offence
Victoria McClure, the driver who struck and killed cyclist Anthony Hilson while adjusting her satellite navigation system, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail, but will serve only half that time.
Ms McClure was found guilty in July of causing death by dangerous driving, although she had only pleaded guilty to the less serious charge of causing death by careless driving.
Anthony Hilson was out for a Sunday morning ride on September 9th 2012 when he was hit from behind by Ms McClure on the A4 Bath Road in Twyford, Berkshire.
It was a straight stretch of road and visibility was good, but Ms McClure was adjusting the zoom function on her sat nav. Prosecutors estimated that Mr Hilson would have been in Ms McClure's field of view for at least 18 seconds before the collision.
Passing sentence at Reading Crown Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Wood told Ms McClure that she should have seen Anthony Hilson.
He said: "No sentence I pass will equate to the loss of life and the loss to family and friends.
"You could and should have seen him, he lost his life, a wife lost a husband, children lost a father, they will all have to live with your actions for the rest of their lives, as do you."
Saying he was taking into account her genuine remorse at the time of the crash and the effect on her two children, Justice Wood sentenced McClure to 18 months in jail, but said she would only serve half that period. She was also banned from driving for two and a half years.
Speaking at the time of the verdict, Mr Hilson’s widow Maxine said: “Tony’s never coming home. The girls have still got to grow up without their dad and if there is a lesson to be learned it’s that if you are playing with a sat nav system do it when you’re stationary.”
Rhia Weston, road safety officer with the CTC says that in cases such as this one and that of Steve Conlan who killed a cyclist when he failed to see a stop sign, the CPS is often not following its own guidelines in selecting an offence to prosecute, and judges are not following sentencing guidelines.
“The sentence McClure received was below the starting point for this type of offence (2-5 years for a ‘low level’ offence) as stated in the sentencing guidelines,” writes Ms Weston.
However, CTC policy is that custodial sentences should be reserved for aggravated and repeat offences. In this case, “CTC would have preferred to see a much longer driving ban,” she writes.